At this time of year, I find driving in the late afternoon to be a real challenge because of the glare, so I figure it makes sense to stay off the bike until after dark. The only problem with that strategy is that the temperature drops quickly from “brisk” to “bone chilling.”
I opted for a mid-weight wool jersey under my windbreaker, tights, heavy wool socks with sandals, wool gloves, and a poly balaclava/helmet combination. I figure if I’m cold at the start, that’s OK because I’ll be warming up after a few miles. The only warning sign I felt was the initial brain freeze as I shot down the hill near our house to get out to the highway. That usually only happens if my forehead and face are cold, so my thoughts are that the Citi helmet vents a little too efficiently, and either a winter kit or just switching to my wool beanie might be the best move.
After a few miles I did warm up, but felt the need to keep moving. Passing under a street lamp, I was a little shocked to see the bike thermometer at 29F. It just didn’t feel that cold when I was outside working before dark. The brain freeze wore off, but my biceps were chilled and my feet were a little cold. I think some plastic bags layered over the socks will solve the foot problem. The bicep issue was minor.
So it ended up being a short fitness ride and a test of my clothing choices, which weren’t too bad. The only other observation had to do with the number of Christmas trees that are set up already. I was surprised at the number, but to each their own. We did the outside lights on Sunday, but usually wait a few weeks for the tree.
I was thinking of going longer, but I was concerned about riding at night below freezing. There was still some water puddled here and there, and I don’t like the thought of wiping out on a patch of black ice.
So homeward bound, and possibly looking at the weekend for a longer ride if the weather cooperates.
Distance: 8.7 miles 2010: 1248.2